OCEAN TWP. (Ocean) — A man from the Waretown section pleaded guilty Wednesday to unlawfully possessing firearms that were not registered in the National Firearms Register and Transfer Record and unlawful possession of an official badge or identification card following a September 2020 arrest.

The investigation into the home and possessions of Jeffrey Backlund, 57, began at that time after a report of a domestic disturbance, and a search warrant yielded a "privately manufactured" short barrel rifle, a silencer, and five imitation badges, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office in Trenton.

The short-barreled, AR-style .223 caliber rifle had no serial number or branding, characteristic of the hard-to-trace "ghost guns" New Jersey has been trying to crack down on in recent years.

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"Given the physical characteristics of the rifle and silencer, Backlund was required to, but did not, register these items in the National Firearms Register and Transfer Record pursuant to the National Firearms Act," the U.S. Attorney's release said.

The investigation also turned up FBI Special Agent credentials, a U.S. Marshals Service badge, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent badge, and a Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent badge, all imitation and none of which Backlund had authority to possess, according to the release.

Combined, the charges against Backlund carry a maximum sentence of 16 years in prison and $15,000 in fines.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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